Add Zipper-Pull Tassels to a Portfolio Clutch Bag
In the Spring 2013 issue of SewStylish, handbag-making expert Gilbert Muniz showed how to make a portfolio-sized clutch with two exterior zippered pockets and a zippered main compartment with an interior pocket. The bag requires three zippers, which offer an opportunity for embellishment. For the article, Gilbert decorated all three zipper pulls with gold chain tassels for a fringe-like effect. We'll also show you how to make tassels from faux or real suede or leather.
All you need to make a chain tassel is a few basic jewelry making supplies. Simply clip the tassel onto the hole in your zipper's pull tab.
Supplies (makes one chain tassel):
- 1 jewelry bead cap
- Jewelry chain, in desired gauge and length (amount depends on the fullness of the tassel desired; for a full tassel use more, for a skinnier tassel, use less)
- 2 small jump rings
- 1 3-inch jewelry eye pin
- 1 medium or large jump ring
- 1 medium-sized jewelry claw clasp
- Needle nose pliers
- Round nose pliers
- Jewelry wire cutters
1. Cut four pieces of chain double the desired finished length. For example, if you want a 4-inch-long tassel, cut four 8-inch-long chain sections.
2. Find the center of each length of chain and slip one small jump ring through the central links on two chain sections. Attach the two remaining chain sections onto the second small jump ring in the same way. Close both jump rings securely.
3. Open the eye pin gently. Slip both jump rings (with chains attached) onto the eye. Close the eye securely.
4. Thread the eye pin's stem through the bead cap's hole from underneath. The bead cap should cup the chains.
5. Using needle nose pliers, bend a 90-degree angle into the eye pin's stem about 1/8 inch above the bead cap's surface.
6. Using round nose pliers, twist the end of the pin into a loop.
7. Wrap the excess wire around the remaining 1/8-inch-long stem above the bead cap. Snip off any leftover wire as close to the wrapped stem as possible. Tuck in any loose wire end with chain nose pliers.
8. To attach the tassel to the zipper pull, open the medium or large jump ring slightly. Slip it onto the tassels' loop and then onto the bottom opening of the claw clasp. Close the jump ring securely.
9. Clip the clasp onto the zipper pull's hole.
You can also make zipper-pull tassels from faux suede or leather (or the real stuff, if you prefer). If you make tassels from a faux suede/leather, make sure to choose a material that has two good suede/leather-like sides.
1. Cut a piece of faux suede or leather 1/2 inch wide and double the desired length of the tassel.
2. Cut the ends to a sharp angle and thread the strip through the hole on the zipper pull. Match the raw ends to make the tassel even.
3. Slit the strips as many times as you can (my maximum was four times) to within 1/4 inch of the zipper pull.
4. Cut a small strip of faux suede or leather 1/4 inch wide by 1 1/2 inches long. Place a small drop of tacky glue on the wrong side of one end and press it to the tassel, close to the zipper pull. Hold it in place for a few seconds, or until the glue becomes tacky.
5. Wrap the remaining length of this strip tight around the tassel's body. Apply a small drop of glue to the wrong side of the remaining strip end and press it over the opposite end. You can use a clothes pin or small clamp to hold the ends together until the glue fully sets. If you prefer not to use glue, you can complete the tassel with small hand stitches instead. If you want your tassels to swing more, pull the strip through a jewelry jump ring instead of the zipper pull. Complete the tassel, then attach the jump ring to the zipper pull.